In the last few years there has been a trend of videos on Youtube and other social media outlets of women dancing while pregnant or during labour. There is a good reason for this! Dancing is a powerful tool that can help during these time periods.
During pregnancy dancing can open up the pelvis and hips, and strengthen muscles. The body will release endorphins which helps with pregnancy mood swings and energy issues. Dancing can also help increase the bond between pregnant mother and baby.
During birth the benefits continue. When a birthing mother dances during contractions it helps her to move with the power of the contraction rather than resisting the sensation. It helps mom to celebrate her labour and not feel like a patient or a passive observer in her birth experience. For some moms the feeling of being in control of her dance movements helps reduce the feeling “out of control” that you can feel in labour.
If mom has spent time dancing during her pregnancy then dancing during labour will help her to access the feelings of well-being she had while in dance class. It can also help mom to stay in her feeling (right) brain instead of her thinking (left) brain. The right brain lets the body take over during contractions and allows the mind to step back to a place of mindfulness instead of trying to control or fear the experience.
“By encouraging a woman to dance during her birth we empower her to actively participate and rejoice in her labour, to emprace her labour’s unique rhythm and unfolding, to love her voluptous pregnant body, and to trust in her baby’s and her own inner knowledge of how to birth. The ebullience she experiences will spill over to infuse her parenting and life with joy.” Stephanie Larson, Found of Dancing For Birth TM
Dance movements help baby during labour as well. Dance movements create more asymetry in the pelvis, which assists baby on their journey into the birth canal. Dancing also uses the power of gravity to encourage baby to come down and out.
Here are some great moves to try before and during labour:
- Hip circles
- Hip knocks
- Pelvic thrusts
- Swaying from side to side
- Swaying from front to back
- Lunge movements
- Figure 8 hip movements
If you aren’t sure what these movements look like then check out one of our Dancing For Birth TM classes to learn more!
Some things to keep in mind while dancing:
- Perform the movements with knees loose and bent to develop strength in your thighs. This will help with stamina during labour.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor while performing movements to maintain balance and feel grounded.
- Practice movements on both sides to help with ambidexterity which can help during labour.
Bronwyn Addico is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, a certified Dancing For Birth TM instructor, a certified Birthing From Within TM mentor. She offers virtual birth and new parenting coaching in addition to her in-class sessions. Bronwyn focuses on empowering her clients to find the tools within themselves to thrive during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. Bronwyn is a single mother to 2 wonderful kids. She is able to share a wealth of information based on her vast array of parenting experiences.